Mapping terminology

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Mind maps, visual maps, information maps. In the visual thinking community, we need a new name.


“Mind mapping” is the established term. That’s either a very focused type of map (for followers of Tony Buzan), or takes on the more widely-used meaning that WikIT refers to as Common mind maps, or can be used more generally still to cover concept maps, argument maps and others.

I’ve written elsewhere about the advantages of this term, but there’s no doubt that it has disadvantages too. The main one, is that people not familiar with other types of map

Visual thinking is a good encompassing term for all sorts of techniques, but you can’t use that to name the many types of maps and diagrams that are used in visual thinking.

Wallace Tait and Arjen Ter Hove have used the term “visual mapping” for a while but it’s hard to imagine maps that are not visual – not impossible, but it’s a mental stretch. Geographical maps are visual, but when “visual maps” is used, it invariably excludes geographical maps.

WikIT uses “information mapping” but that seems to exclude the creative side – ideas cannot really be called information.

Andrew Wilcox started a discussion map here, in an attempt to exhaust the possibilities, but it has not come up with anything that looks like a solution.

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